Indian diaspora becoming vulnerable to terror attacks: Intelligence Bureau
Guwahati: Describing ISIS and al-Qaeda as serious security challenges for India, Director of Intelligence Bureau Asif Ibrahim on Sunday said the Indian diaspora has become increasingly vulnerable to elements having allegiance to terror groups.
Addressing a conference of DGPs and IGPs, Ibrahim said al-Qaeda and ISIS pose serious security challenges for the country if they were not dealt with on priority.
"The rapid territorial gain and the influence of caliphate on one hand glamorises the image of the group (ISIS), while on the other it enhances its capability," he said at the conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several Chief Ministers.
The Director of the IB said vulnerable groups and fringe elements from over 80 countries have gone to the region (Iraq-Syria) to participate in the conflict.
Ibrahim said a splinter group of the Indian Mujahideen operating in the Af-Pak region has announced its support to the ISIS and to bolster its flagging image, al -Qaeda has announced the formation of its Indian sub continent wing specifically targeting India.
"We have deliberated the serious issue yesterday and felt that the threat is likely to accentuate as the situation unfolds further in future. Indian diaspora has become increasingly vulnerable in the days to come," he said.
Ibrahim said there is also an imminent danger of Indian youths moving to the conflict zone, emerging as a role model and stressed that such developments, may directly or indirectly, pose a threat to India.
"The threat potential is accentuated with some lower rung elements returning from conflict zone," he said.
A youth from Mumbai suburb Kalyan, Arif Majeed, who until now was believed to have been killed while fighting for militant group ISIS in Syria, was arrested on Friday hours after he landed in the metropolis.
In May this year, four youths from Kalyan - Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel, besides Arif - had left India to visit holy places in the West Asia, but they disappeared thereafter and since then were suspected to have joined the Sunni extremist group.
In India, Talwar will hold meetings with government officials in New Delhi, visit US-Indian joint ventures in the defense sector in Hyderabad, deliver remarks at the Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, and hold a roundtable discussion with the US-India Business Council.
"We want to translate that, and try to narrow down into specific areas where we can have co-operation. Where we had discussions in the past and look forward to continuing them on the defense side in particular, are issues of co-production and co-development, as well as just understanding and explaining to India from our perspective and getting a better understanding of their perspective how defense procurement, defense trade and defense licensing systems work on both sides so that we can deepen our cooperation," Talwar said.
He would be accompanied by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kenneth Handelman, who is in-charge of the directorate of defense trade control.
"We hope that would be beneficial conversation. Of course part of the goal of defense trade and technology initiative was to address what you were talking about (relaxing export control norms for India), to be able to put on the table certain projects which we can pursue that would involve very sophisticated areas," Talwar said.
"That conversation we would like to take to deeper level. We think more can be done there. And so this whole area of technology transfer should be one that we talk about and the kinds of systems that we do to explain our procedures and our policies in this area I think would be a useful exercise. This is the kind of conversation that we want to deepen with India," he added.
"I would say in general that a very high percentage of license applications are approved for India. There is a very low denial rate. Part of the conversation that we want to have with them is to there are certain procedures we have to go through, but again we are trying to deepen the strategic partnership. So it is no accident that I am bringing somebody from the licensing office," he noted.
The US, he said, would like to develop a common operating picture, common understanding of the strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific and from there then they can go into other areas of potential collaboration and cooperation.
"Maritime security for example is a significant area. The Indian Ocean region is vast. We have a global effort actually to try to enhance maritime domain awareness, maritime security. India clearly and the United States share a desire for freedom of navigation, which is essential for free flow of commerce, free flow of goods. One particular example that I can give you one area where we share our interest and work together is counter piracy," he said.
"India has a vested stake in the security and stability of the region. We think there is a potential for strategic cooperation there, which can cover many realms. It can go from defense trade to all the way through ways we can work together to promote freedom of navigation," he said.
"What I am doing, what others have been doing, is all related to that top-level decision to really try to deepen the partnership with India," Talwar added.